A WITTON Albion win is no surprise, but it was not until the closing stages they made their class count.
Carl Macauley said beforehand his side was motivated to collect maximum points and, with the teams’ previous meeting in mind, to put in a markedly improved performance than on Boxing Day.
That this success, their 30th of the campaign, contributed to their tenants being relegated left their supporters happier still.
It seems almost churlish to suggest Northwich Victoria were in the game for the first half an hour.
But they were, and would have taken the lead had Favour Imade stretched a few inches further to meet Yaw Gyimah’s cross after the wide man had robbed Anthony Gardner of possession.
Instead, quick as a flash, the game was taken from them.
Steven Tames, after Brad Bauress instinctively dabbed a pass into his path, steered his side in front on 36 minutes.
Bauress then emphatically despatched a penalty after Dave Short, a striker filling in as a defender with Andrew Fitzgerald serving a suspension, hauled down Tames.
Providing results elsewhere were kind, a draw might have kept Vics hopes of beating the drop alive until Saturday.
Such a scenario felt remote though when Rob Hopley, following another delicious assist by Bauress, squeezed an angled shot past goalkeeper Dylan Forth within 15 seconds of the contest restarting after half-time.
For the first time, Paul Moore’s men looked dishevelled.
Gyimah remained a willing runner though, and a neat side-step gave him a glimpse of goal after an hour.
However he shot feebly, and too close to custodian Danny Roberts.
There followed the only moment of controversy in a one-sided second period when George Mannion tripped Matty Devine after he burst clear.
However referee Michael Barlow, unexpectedly too, ignored the full-back’s appeal for spot-kick.
Gyimah teed up John Bennett after the pair traded passes, but again the finish was weak.
Witton’s attack, bolstered by Will Jones’ introduction after Paul Williams made way with an injury, had all the firepower their opponents’ lacked.
And they showed as much too in the time remaining.
Karl Noon blazed high, but Jones was alert to ram a loose ball past Forth after Adam Lawrence failed to cut out Hopley’s low cross.
Hopley then sliced wide with only Vics’ number one to beat before Jones doubled his personal tally from inside the six-yard box after meeting Tames glorious chipped assist on the volley.
By then, Albion fans stood behind the goal were delirious.
After all, they have waited a long time to see their side beat Northwich in a league encounter – almost quarter of a century to be precise.
For Vics, a fight to survive on the field that they had prolonged for longer than expected is over.
A rebuild awaits for them.
Meanwhile Albion can start plotting a return to the Northern Premier League’s top-flight through the play-offs.
Vics | 4-2-3-1 | Forth (GK), Lawrence, Short, Lyndon, Mannion, Bennett, Cesaire, McDonald, Kelleher (Shaw 67), Gyimah, Imade (Matthews 36) Subs not used none
Witton | 4-4-2 | Roberts (GK), Gardner (Wilson 46), Brown, Lycett, Devine, Noon, Williams (Jones 29), Haywood, Bauress (Hinchliffe 60), Hopley, Tames Sub not used Moore (GK) Goals Tames 36, Bauress 39 (penalty), Hopley 46, Jones 76, 83
Referee Michael Barlow